English Journal is NCTE's award-winning journal of ideas for English language arts teachers in junior and senior high schools and middle schools.
Calls for Manuscripts
All manuscripts should be submitted via the Editorial Manager system.
General Interest Submissions
We publish articles of general interest as space is available. You may submit manuscripts on any topic that will appeal to EJ readers. Remember that EJ articles foreground classroom practice and contextualize it in sound research and theory. As you know, EJ readers appreciate articles that show real students and teachers in real classrooms engaged in authentic teaching and learning. Regular manuscript guidelines regarding length and style apply.
Submission Deadline: May 15, 2019
Publication Date: January 2020
Teaching is unique in that the longer you do it, the more you know you have so much left to learn.
—Leila Christenbury and Ken Lindblom,
Continuing the Journey: Becoming a Better Teacher of Literature and Informational Texts
Teaching is both a vocation and a passion, especially for English teachers, who often join the profession because they love literature and its capacity to inspire and transform. Teaching, as a practice, is also uniquely challenging. It is dynamic, constantly responding to changes in the culture that reverberate in the classroom. To be a good teacher is to be remarkably flexible, to embrace experimentation, to be willing to grow in unexpected ways alongside the students, who are teaching us about their perceptions of the world. Calling it a journey, as Christenbury and Lindblom do, seems apt. Understanding that the journey has no destination, just important stops along the way, is critical, however. That’s what keeps us walking . . . and learning how to walk.
For this issue of the journal, the editors invite narratives about the teaching life. In particular, we are interested in stories about becoming and being an English language arts teacher and stories about moments when you may have doubted yourself but didn’t give up. What roads led you to the English classroom? When have you worked through obstacles that, later, allowed you to be a better teacher for your students? Which texts keep you engaged? What changes in the students, the culture, or the profession have you noted over the course of your career and how have you adapted? How have your students taught you to be a better teacher? What story can you tell that may motivate other teachers in the journey we are taking together?
Comedy and Humor
Submission Deadline: July 15, 2019
Publication Date: March 2020
I love mediocre people. The ones who try their hardest to make something beautiful, something great, something that someone will remember and talk about when they’re gone—and they come up short. And not by a little bit. By a lot. They’re my people. We laugh at them, but you really have no choice in this life but to believe with all your heart that you’re extraordinary. You have to hold this conviction against all evidence to the contrary.
— Jeff Zentner, Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee
Comedy and humor can make a life bearable and entertaining as one experiences various moments or key events. This is the case for many teachers and students in the English classroom as they approach language arts for understanding. A literary character can make reading and learning more dynamic with some laughs and wit developed by the author. For instance, Delia in Zentner’s young adult literature novel surmises the meanings of mediocrity, but the extraordinary can also change one’s perspective on life, as she comes to realize.
In the book Humor Writing: Activities for the English Classroom, Bruce A. Goebel proposes a classroom rule on humor and also making fun of high school culture: “No humor shared in class may target specific individuals in this school district, with the exception of your being allowed to make fun of yourself.” This happens to be the case for Delia in Zentner’s novel.
For this issue of the journal, the editors invite narratives about comedy and humor in the English classroom. In particular, we are interested in ideas and stories about reading literature that brings humor and lightheartedness for students and teachers. What characters connect with students and your own teaching practices such as through humor and laughter in selected literary works, dramatic comedy, or comic drama? When have you used humor writing that, later, permitted students to experience language humor, funny stories and essays, light verse, parody, or satire, among other forms? How do moments of jeu d’esprit unfold and keep students reading and writing, including multimodal literacies, texts, and techniques? Which elements of comedy and humor—from the classics to contemporary texts—sustain readers and thinkers in the English classroom?
Speaking My Mind
We invite you to speak out on an issue that concerns you about English language arts teaching and learning. If your essay is published, it will appear with your photo in a future issue of EJ. We welcome essays of 1,000 to 1,500 words, as well as inquiries regarding possible subjects.
Editors: Peter Elliott, The John Cooper School, Woodlands, Texas; and Alexa Garvoille, MFA Program, Creative Writing, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
“To live in this world / you must be able / to do three things: / to love what is mortal; / to hold it / against your bones knowing / your life depends on it; / and, when the time comes to let it go, / to let it go.” These words from Mary Oliver’s poem “In Blackwater Woods” speak not only to how to live in this world but also to how we learn and teach. As teachers, we hold against our bones so much that our lives depend on—helping a student, learning a difficult concept, speaking up for justice, or reading a favorite text—but then must learn to let go. In the pages of English Journal, we look to publish well-crafted poems that connect our readers to topics central to English education: the impact of reading and writing on young people, words and language, classroom stories, and reflections on teaching and learning. Poetry reminds us, as educators, how to live in this world.
Submit your work by emailing an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the subject line “Poetry Submission for Review.” The first page of the attached document should be a cover sheet that includes your name, address, email, and a two-sentence biographical sketch. In your bio, include how long you have been a member of NCTE, if applicable, and a publishable contact email. Following the cover sheet, include from one to five original poems in the same document. Though we welcome work of any length, shorter pieces (thirty lines and under) often work best for the journal. Poems must be original and not previously published. Simultaneous submissions are welcome, though writers must immediately withdraw from consideration any poems that are to be published elsewhere by contacting the editors via email.
Poets whose work is published will receive two complimentary copies of the issue in which their work appears. Additional inquiries about poetry submissions may be directed to the coeditors at email@example.com. We look forward to reading and celebrating your work.
Teacher photographs of classroom scenes and individual students are welcome. Photographs may be uploaded to Editorial Manager at the address above in any standard image format at 300 dpi. Photos should be accompanied by complete identification: teacher/photographer’s name, location of scene, and date photograph was taken. If faces are clearly visible, names of those photographed should be included, along with their statement of permission for the photograph to be reproduced in EJ.
Cartoons should depict scenes or ideas potentially amusing to English language arts teachers. They can be submitted to Editorial Manager at the address above; we can accept any standard graphics format at 300 dpi.
For information on writing for the EJ columns, see the Columns and Column Editors info below.
For EJ Submission Guidelines, see Write for Us.
For more information, contact Englishjournal@ncte.org.